Food cravings by pregnant women can be both a curse and a blessing. We say a curse because that urge to satisfy your desire for a certain food is somewhat uncontrollable. The feeling of not having full control of what your body wants can be terrifying, not to mention the fact that you might end up adding too much weight during this period which may be harmful to your health and that of your baby. You shouldn’t be too scared of pregnancy cravings though because it’s normal.
As a matter of fact, according to studies, it’s estimated that 50 to 90% of women in the U.S. experience it. It usually manifests as the first trimester ends, then rapidly rises in the second trimester and gradually decreases as the baby nears. Given the fact that cases of pregnancy cravings gone bad are rare then you should by all means satisfy your cravings when they arise. You want ice cream, go get it; you want pizza, order it. When it comes to cravings while pregnant, listen to your body. But proceed with moderation.
Whereas food cravings are confirmed to be real, the reasons behind them are sometimes subject to debate. So today we are going to look at some of the possible reasons as to why moms-to-be crave certain foods.
During pregnancy, women undergo a great degree of hormonal change, specifically involving estrogen and progesterone. However, these two hormones are not the cause of food cravings. What happens is that these hormonal changes are so drastic that they affect certain senses like taste and smell. This in turn alters your perception of how certain foods taste and smell, causing the cravings for specific types of foods.
Different countries have cravings for different types of food. For example, women from Japan mainly crave for rice while most women from the U.S. crave for chocolate. In other countries, such foods are hardly craved for at all. This shows how differently the cultures of countries influence the specific foods that pregnant women crave for while also adding an element of psychology.
According to some nutritionists, pregnant women crave certain foods because they lack certain nutrients in their body. This has however been a controversial point since most women are known to crave sweets, chocolate, and high-calorie food substances. You can argue that if this was so then shouldn’t they be craving highly nutritional foods like veggies and legumes. Still this point cannot be discounted given that a percentage of women, although small, crave foods such as fruits which are rich in nutrients. There are situations where pregnant women crave nonfood substances which may include dirt or clay, a condition called pica. Women who crave such substances are lacking iron and zinc in their body and therefore need to replenish them.
A Note from GR8NESS
There have been numerous studies done to determine what causes food cravings while pregnant, but more research still needs to be done. Most of the reasons are not conclusive and therefore still debated among scientists. It’s always good to play it safe. Yes, its normal but you should also try to watch out for your baby. Learn to moderate the cravings when you feel you are eating too much.